A Random Walk Down Wall Street; Including a Life-Cycle Guide to Personal Investing
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A Random Walk Down Wall Street; Including a Life-Cycle Guide to Personal Investing

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  7,690 ratings  ·  265 reviews

This gimmick-free, irreverent, and vastly informative guide�with over half a million copies sold�shows how to navigate the turbulence on Wall Street and beat the pros at their own game.

Skilled at puncturing financial bubbles and other delusions of the Wall Street crowd, Burton Malkiel shows why a broad portfolio of stocks selected at random will match the performance...more
Paperback, 499 pages
Published June 17th 2000 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1973)
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Many years ago I bought this book about the stock market. In retrospect, it is the worst book I've ever bought because it made me believe in efficient capital markets. The author made his point with a lot of arrogance - just like finance professors did 15-20 years ago. At the time the markets very certainly not as efficient as the author believed. There have been several updates to the book, but the condescending voice of the author remains.

For the statistically interested, the problem with a lo...more
Todd Nemet
From talking to friends and reading an internal financial mailing list at work I got the vague impression that this book was somehow too esoteric or controversial to bother with. I am very glad that I decided to read this book.

It's hard to work in Silicon Valley without being affected by Wall Street. When I started working I was interested in technology, not business and finance. Business and finance seemed a bit beneath me. (Actually, technology seemed a bit beneath me too. I was kind of a snot...more
Malkiel's been writing and rewriting this classic tome on investing for the last thirty-five years. I gave him 5 stars for being fully engaged in the process of revision. Sometimes I wish all authors would write (and rewrite) just one good book (and that actors would star in only one movie). But that's like asking investors to put their money in just a few low-cost funds and hold it there for decades ... hey, that's what Malkiel's talking about! So it's not the most exciting approach to investin...more
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Jarrod Jenkins
Burton Malkiel's "A Random Walk Down Wall Street" is the book that popularized passive investing. As a Princeton professor and board member of the Vanguard Group, Malkiel brought the practical implications of the efficient market hypothesis to the general investing public. The ideas in this book are now so ubiquitously accepted, that I actually learned very little new information. However, I am pleased to have experienced the original source of this powerfully simple yet effective investment phi...more
A classic book on investing, I really enjoyed the first part of the book. Here are a few of the "morals" of this book:
-The "Firm Foundation Theory" or fundamentals of stock picking are based on the following:
1.)the expected growth rate
2.)the expected dividend payout
3.)the degree of risk
4.)the level of market interest rates

BUT, the two caveats are 1)expectations about the future cannot be proven in the present (hence the title of this book) and, 2.) precise figures cannot be calculated from under...more
Chad Warner
Jun 13, 2011 Chad Warner rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: investors
Shelves: finance, non-fiction
Investors are bound to have heard about this classic and it’s author, economist Burton Malkiel. In this book, he explains that the market is highly efficient, and no one can accurately predict its ups and downs; it’s a “random walk”. So, the best approach is passive, “buy and hold” investing using diversified index funds held long term. I recommend this book to investors of any level, especially those attracted to active, speculative investing.

The book begins with a fairly boring recount of seve...more
Probably the most useful book about money that I have read. One of those things you think you know about (yeah yeah the random walk blah blah. . . ) And more amusing than most also.

Scanning some of the reviews I deduce that people like this book if they believe in index investing and don't if they don't. I feel Malkiel's argument is very convincing partly because he demystifies a lot of what financial professionals do. For example, I have always wondered, when they tell you "if you do this you c...more
Feb 15, 2011 Clem rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who's serious about learning how to invest
I've always thought reviews that contain lines such as "This book has changed my life completely" is nothing more than a silly exaggeration until reading this book - I wouldn't say it has changed my life entirely, but it has definitely changed my perspective and outlook of the thorny investing world where you often have to trim the weeds and learn how to sow the seeds.

The writing is simple enough to understand for most budding investors, yet at the same time it appealed to the inner nerd from my...more
Paul Abernathy
Overall, I thought this was a helpful overview of the financial markets and had some generally good advice for a regular person on how to invest and navigate the financial markets. The book gives some history of financial markets, explains the basics of fundamental analysis vs technical analysis (which I did not know until reading the book), talks about strategies people have used in the past to make money, explains ways risk of a stock is measured (like the beta measure), and so forth. The rand...more
Steven Ure
Best finance/investing I've ever read. This book offers no get-rich schemes, it simply informs you about investments that are the least risky and offer stable returns. What more could you ask?

Remember that scene from The Graduate? Well, don't invest in plastics. Invest in Index Funds. Simple.
Indexing - a strategy I learned initially from other sources - is best described in this book and other books by John Bogle. The last decade has not been kind to indexers, but, if Warren Buffett is right (and he is mostly on finanical matters), indexing is the most sensible financial strategy for most investors, hands down.
Laura Hughes
This is the most legitimate, trustworthy, data-driven investing guide for laymen that I have found. It provides an in-depth background in market history and various popular methods of playing the market. Piece by piece, it explains (and debunks) those methods with logic and data. While it didn't change my strategy--I already believed in a "buy and hold" strategy with a portfolio of no-load, low-expense-ratio mutual funds or ETFs in broadly diversified index funds--it made me feel that I really t...more
The first 90% of this book is spent trying to convince the reader of its basic premise, which could be summed up as:

"It is impossible to consistently out-perform the market as a whole. Most investors would be best served by just invested in a market index."

If you dispute that premise then he does a good job of demonstrating its truth, with plenty of good data and examples. If you are like me, and fully buy into that premise already, then the bulk of the book will be skimmed through, occasionally...more
Michael Wheatley
Lots of lessons (especially in the derivatives section) reminded me of my time in Farrell Jensen's Agricultural Economics class at BYU.

Being a conservative investor myself, this book resonated with me. It was reinforcement. But the book recognizes that not everyone has that view and basically says, "if you're going to pick individual stocks, here are some ways to minimize your risk" or "put most of your money in index funds, and use 5% to gamble with."

The overwhelming theme, though, is to inves...more
Syed Ashrafulla
This book is not as impressive to me as it might be to the general reader. Malkiel's main message is that long-run trends are the profitable parts of stock investing. As a result, speculation is unprofitable to the general investor. My main issue is that his argument is largely an expansion of the Central Limit Theorem, which he simultaneously credits and discredits as is necessary to support his message.

My biggest issue is that his cause for the Efficient Market Theory is that the market adapts...more
Andrew Skretvedt
This book is perhaps _the_ classic counterpoint to some of William O'Neil's great books, like "How to Make Money in Stocks" or "The Successful Investor."

The strategy: diversify among asset-classes. For stocks, use unmanaged, inexpensive market index funds. Buy-and-hold, the longer the better. Want more return? Risk more loss.


Technical analysis gets a voodoo reputation because it _is_ voodoo. It's scientism. It flows from misunderstandings of probability in human-intuition, and the human cogn...more
Mar 23, 2011 Nancy marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Booklist Reviews 2011 February #1
In the tenth edition of A Random Walk down Wall Street, Malkiel evaluates and emphatically stands by his original investment thesis, that it is extremely rare for an individual investor to consistently beat the stock-market averages. Investors are better off buying and holding an index fund than attempting to buy and sell individual securities or actively managed mutual funds. An index fund which buys and sells all the stocks in a broad stock-market average is l...more
Charles Rotblut
A Random Walk Down Wall Street has long been one of my favorite investing books and this is worthy update. Burton Malkiel strongly believes in passive investing (buying mutual funds or ETFs that track an index, such as the S&P 500) and he reinforces his argument is this book. Malkiel believes that over the long-term, beating the market is not possible. He provides data to back up his claims.

If you are new to investing, this book is a great way to start learning. If you have been investing fo...more
This is my favorite book on investing. I would recommend it to anyone interested in learning about investing. It's very easy to read, and sometimes even reads like a story, and yet still manages to cover all the details. This is an impressive feat, considering that every other decent investing book I've found is a snoozer. I've found books that are easy to read, but they're only easy because they're simplistic. Add to that the tons of misinformation out there, telling you how you can "beat the m...more
A review in honor of today's near-5% fall in the major indexes, the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, and the 2008 collapse of 3 of 5 of the independent investment banks. So far.

"Random Walk" is worth reading for anyone about to buy shares or mutual funds for the first time. While current descriptions of the book emphasize investment advice, the 1973 thesis is really that buy-and-hold is the only logical strategy. Uncovering market "opportunities" is a fool's game. Technical analysts, aka chartists...more
Bill Eger
This book is a sturdy MUST READ for anyone interested in investing in stocks, bonds or other financial instruments. Though I stopped investing about 25 years ago, it has become necessary to take it up again and this book is bringing me up to date in a deeply changed environment. After finishing the book taken as a loan from our Hilo Hawai`i Public Library, I bought my own 2011 edition, the tenth or so since the first edition of 1973.

The author is the most stalwart realist I've ever encountered i...more
Malkiel is a ecnomonist professor at Harvard and thus his book is much more academically focused than Bernstein’s. Much if front end was not new materials, just a retelling of some of the market goofs like the Tulip crazy over history. Spends lots of time on the efficient market theory explaining his belief that though some people argue that the market is so efficient that every possible bit of information of a stock is already reflected in price, he actually says some people can spot inefficien...more
Jun 06, 2010 Anthony rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in controlling their own financial future
Recommended to Anthony by: internet
This book was excellent because it made me look at investing much differently than before. The books mantra is basically to be an average investor and that by being average you will beat the majority of the professional investors over the long term. This seemingly contradictory statement is true because the financial industry essentially acts like a middle man, taking a small percentage of customer assests, that in the long term add up significantly. I enjoyed this book because it is relatively...more
A short summary, to jog the memory:

Part One introduces two main approaches to asset valuation: the firm-foundation theory, and the castle-in-the-air theory. The firm-foundation theory states that the price of an asset is based on its intrinsic value, which in turn is based on the assets current condition and future prospects. The castle-in-the-air theory holds more that an asset is worth only what someone is willing to pay for it, which is based on the emotions and perceptions of the investing c...more
Nov 23, 2013 Shiri rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Shiri by: Peleg
Shelves: finance, nonfiction
THis book gets a somewhat-weighted average of 5 stars (for the beginning and some parts of the end) and 2 stars (for most of the middle). The concept of the random walk is convincing and the analysis of why both technical and fundamental approaches fail was great. That said, the author then proceeded to go ahead and give a bunch of investment advice including a fair amount on valuation, that really didn't jive with the rest of the book. The lifecycle guide somewhat redeemed the book but it was a...more
Ok, you know that I'm not so interested in this topic. Still, I enjoyed this book immensely. Malkiel is easily the wittiest man on earth I have ever read.

For ones who are interested in the subject, this is absolutely a fun and useful read at the same time. I never know finance can be taught so clearly, straightforward and still so engaging. I thought the book would lose its charm after a while (when the author starts talking some technical things), but it does not. Ok, after finishing it, I adm...more
Jeff Kelleher
10th edition compared to 1st.

I read this classic in its first edition 38 years ago just after completing a graduate degree in economics, and was captivated. The Efficient Market Hypothesis which it expounds was in its infancy. Index mutual funds had not yet been invented. There was much chatter about "crowd psychology" and the like, but Behavioralism as a distinct academic discipline applied to stock price movements had not yet evolved. And of course, no personal computers.

Now the tenth edition...more
I'm not much of a money / investing person... hence reading this. The moral of the story, invest in stocks and mutual funds with the idea of leaving the money alone. I did enjoy the history bit of things like the tulip craze in Holland... don't give in to greed or easy money... there's no free lunch. And, the hemline theory was particularly funny. Malkiel doesn't give much credit to money managers and says we should run our own portfolios... said chimps throwing darts at a board could pick a por...more
Picked this up along with a few other books in order to develop a roadmap for personal finances.

It's definitely comprehensive and interesting but reads a lot like "Stocks for Dummies." Still, I learned a ton and Malkiel's writing style keeps things relatively fresh. I hate skipping chapters so I bit the bullet and read the whole thing, but to really get the full value out of this book and not waste any time you can easily pick and choose which chapters you think apply to you. It's worth buying f...more
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Bloomfield Public...: A Random Walk Down Wall Street 1 6 May 04, 2013 07:14AM  
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